Creating viral content is no easy task. The threshold of what qualifies as viral is so blurry that in most cases we don’t know what we’re reverse engineering!
Is it Beyonce’s trending picture? A kid jumping on a frozen lake? An eagle picking up a baby? How do we do that for our brand? Do we need a trained eagle to pick up our logo?
I’ve created content at scale for myself and clients for almost 10 years and have grown communities and social media followings by tens of thousands, going viral many times. I have learned over and over one basic principle of virality that most marketers and entrepreneurs miss in their content strategy.
People only share content that makes them look funny, cool, and smart. Not content that makes You look funny, cool, and smart.
The difference is subtle, but should change our approach to marketing. Audit your brand online. How much of the content that you’re putting out is relatable or shareable regardless of what you sell?
How much of your content is about your features, your events, your design, your brand, your story, your your your instead of their—the audience’s—interests, their network, their sense of humor, their timing, their circle of friends, their their their?
Great marketers are like great method actors.
We study the character of the people we want to be like and put ourselves in their shoes. The people, or personas, we target have behaviors and interests that we need to cater to as a brand.
It’s like hunting! The more you understand your prey, the better you can set up traps and lures that work for you. How silly would a hunter look standing in the woods yelling about how great they are instead of setting up the right food and sounds to attract a deer or turkey? This is how we look when we take to Facebook and just boast about how awesome our new app’s features are instead of providing value that attracts a community of like-minded people.
Don’t strive to be well known. Strive to be worth knowing.
This goes for startups, established businesses, personal brands, and more. Understand your audience and what they want.
Think like an actor.
Think like a hunter.